I feel a little schizophrenic this week.
One one hand I am missing the monkey deeply and cannot wait to get her back. On the other, I feel refreshed and buoyant and am doing some things I love doing (on this, more in a few days) which is however eating into all of those long-finger tasks I promised I would do when she wasn’t here.
I’ve also done absolutely no reading recently, which is unforgiveable. I am itching to pick up something new, but simply haven’t had the time until now. I’m going to have a mighty job on my hands, getting through Great Expectations before next the group meets.
However, tonight is the book group meeting where we discuss the book of my choosing and I will be astonished if they don’t all hate it!
I read Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson over the course of a few days, a while back and so I am struggling to recall plot nuances already. But it certainly wasn’t by favourite book of the year. I didn’t know it at the time, but Ridley Scott already has it in pre-production. Certainly, when I read it, I felt it was very cinematic. But I also felt that translation would show up all of its weaknesses. I think it would probably make an extremely feeble movie.
The story opens on a day like all the others: our narrator is an amnesiac, who can only make and store new short-term memories for a few hours. Therefore when she sleeps, she loses whatever she has learned of herself the previous day and each morning has to start anew. Every day she wakes to the painful discovery she is not in fact a teenager, or in her twenties, but a woman in her forties, married to a man of whom she has no memory.
It’s a really interesting idea, and it’s certainly a page-turner. But I rapidly lost patience in the final chapters. A shame. Interesting idea, which has been previously explored with more success in Memento for instance.
I’ve also had snatched telephone conversations with the Monkey, which are distracting and upsetting, although she is doing famously with mum. I am in awe of my mum and how she is with her. They made scones in the morning and in the afternoon went to a playgroup where mum herself worked when I was a child and which I attended. The place burns bright in my own memory and I think mum really enjoyed going back there, although it has changed dramatically. Monkeyface played really well with the other children, which was brilliant to hear as I dont have any personal reference regarding her behaviour where there are large numbers of other children, but afterwards, when she arrived home with my mum, she said quietly to her “I miss mummy.”
I have never ever heard her say anything like this, and I felt winded when mum told me. I was cautious about speaking to her on the telephone later, but she took it in good stride and I was overjoyed to hear her as she squealed with excitement and trying to show me her painting over the telephone “Look, mummy, look!”
Her voice sounded suddenly older, clearer and actually more like mine. “I’m eating a scone, mummy” – yup, it really could have been me.
3 days to go